Senator Seeks Creation of Gaming Commission

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission would be abolished, and a new Oklahoma Sports and Gaming Commission would be established under a bill introduced for the 1994 Legislature by Sen. Lewis Long, D-Glenpool.

"It's my opinion that there should be one commission that would regulate any and all types of gaming, rather than two or three different types of commissions and entities of state government looking at all these different types of gaming, like professional boxing," Long said in a telephone interview.

Under Senate Bill 582, co-authored by Rep. Gary Taylor, D-Dewey: Each of six members of the new commission would be elected from one of Oklahoma's congressional districts and would be required to be a resident of that district. A seventh member would be appointed by the governor, with advice and consent of the state Senate.

Members would be forbidden from having a financial interest in any sports or gaming regulated by the commission. The panel would regulate horse racing, bingo, the potential lottery and "such other sports and gaming in this state as authorized by the Legislature." Commissioners would serve staggered, four-year terms and could succeed themselves. The commissioner appointed by the governor would serve at the pleasure of the governor. The governor also would appoint individuals to fill unexpired terms, should the occasion arise. Leadership would be elected among commission members, with a two-term limit on the office of chairman. A majority of members would constitute a quorum, and the governor's appointee would vote only in the case of a tie.

"If for some reason the Legislature didn't want to vote these people in, I wouldn't object to the Senate appointing two members of this sports and gaming commission, the House appointing two, the governor appointing two and the lieutenant governor being one of the members, perhaps the chairman," Long said.

Also under Senate Bill 582: Commissioners would draw an annual salary of $42,140. They would be bound by the state Ethics Commission Act. Rules and regulations promulgated by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission prior to effective date of the new commission would continue in effect, until the rules were amended or repealed by the sports and gaming commission. …